Some writers choose to unveil their muse/inspiration at the end of a composition. That’s not the case here. We need to get things out of the way up front. So, here it is, and it’s required viewing for this blog (only two minutes of your time): “What’s the Big Idea ?— The Three Stooges”
Good? For numerous decades, The Three Stooges brought their personal brand of farce and slapstick comedy to audiences. No stranger to programs which pre-date my birth (probably a given since I just used “programs”), I wasted many hours watching re-runs of Larry, Moe, and Curly (never cared for Shemp much) knock one another about whilst careening along a nonsensical plotline.
A few days ago I headed down the YouTube rabbit trail and ran across the above video. I don’t know how I got there, but it planted a seed in my brain that has been germinating and will now culminate in whatever shape this blog takes. As downright dumb and foolish as these three can seem, I want us to ponder on a legitimate question that is raised: What’s the big idea?
I want you to do something for me. Do it carefully. At some point in the next day or so, think about a “big” idea. You define how big “big” is. Then, talk to someone about it. Even better, see if you can get the initial “What’s the big idea?” reaction from them. If they are watching television, go turn it off and stand there. If they are playing on the phone, go turn it face down on the couch. You get the point. If you get something thrown at you — physical or verbal obscenity — you can’t say, “Well, this friend of mine said…” Deal? But seriously, have a conversation with someone about an idea that’s on your mind. I am going to share some of mine with you. Today, it isn’t one “big” idea. I’m going to discuss a handful of small ones which, in their own way, each defines my version of “big”:
- What’s the big idea with people using electronic devices at a restaurant table? — There are exceptions. Many restaurants, given COVID-19, have opted for QR codes and electronic menus. I dig that. Sometimes people are expecting urgent, extremely important phone calls. I get it. That is not what I mean. I am talking about when I go into an establishment only to look over and see a family of five (parents and three kids). The parents and oldest child are each on a cell phone and the two youngest are watching an iPad. Thou shalt not judge, but sin I do. I love my phone and iPad, too, but shouldn’t we spend time together with the people we love by actually looking at them and talking to them while sharing a meal? Maybe it’s a dated concept. Too, I would argue this is detrimental to the development of children. It is becoming easier to type and communicate via the electronic medium and more difficult to navigate physical encounters. Okay, I don’t have data on that, but it feels accurate.
- What’s the big idea with people being against naps? — I am a napper. I always have been. I know some people take very regimented naps. I once knew a man who would take a one-hour lunch break at work. He ate for thirty minutes and slept for thirty. He said he felt amazing the second half of the workday. When people ask me how long I want my nap to be, I quickly let them know that it should last until I awake. Honestly, I get a bit irritated otherwise. Alas, aren’t naps healthy? Don’t we deserve at least a minor, temporary reprieve from the juggernaut of life? I think so. I can’t speak for everyone. I’m amazed at what just fifteen minutes will do, but some say that is a tease that only makes it worse. Who knows? My point for this one? Allow yourself time to, at the very least, do something that brings you a bit of peace and tranquility. Recharge your batteries or else, one day, they will run out on you.
- What’s the big idea with “sleeping on the couch” being a bad thing? — I get it. In our culture and society, we’ve constructed “sleeping on the couch” as the bad place where the man goes when there is an argument. I don’t know about you all, but couches can be really comfortable. First, given the multitude of relationship possibilities, we really need to rethink this dated mindset and construct, and second, maybe, if it’s going to continue, we need to make it worse than a couch. Bathtub? (Though I’ve found those to be comfortable enough given the scenario.) Outside? (We got this.) Piano bench? (There’s a winner in my book.) Maybe you aren’t a couch person and all this scares you. I was the kid who, in ninth grade, removed the bed from my, umm, bedroom, and replaced it with a blue couch (couch room?). I liked it better. In the midst of transitioning houses (read one of my earlier blogs), I’ve found my in-laws’ couch to be right dandy for snoozing.
- What’s the big idea of depriving yourself of at least one craving? — I phrase it this way because I want to focus on food and television for now. All based on perspective, anyone can look at me and tell I don’t really do an effective or efficient job avoiding cravings, so really, I’m not equipped to speak on this, but here we go. If you want to be on a diet, exercise, drink water, “live right,” that’s cool . . . but go ahead and, on occasion, divulge. Have a piece of fried chicken. Get some of that good movie theater popcorn with the extra butter. You deserve it. And television? I get it. Many of us watch educational programs to stay current and savvy; we soak in documentaries and historical biographies. I do. But you know what? On occasion, you ought to just kick back and enjoy something for fun. I’ve learned just about as many life lessons from The Andy Griffith Show, The Golden Girls, and Cheers — wait, okay, not as many life lessons from Cheers, but, (beer and) NORM! — as I have from, well, living. Treat yourself. Once again, you deserve it.
There it is, folks. I’m hoping we have spanned a bit of conversational real estate here — something you can take away and chat about with someone else.
So, the only thing left to ask is this: What’s your big idea? I’m willing to bet it can be more profound than couches, fried chicken, napping, The Three Stooges, and The Andy Griffith Show, but if I have planted a seed to germinate, mission accomplished.